Please allow me to return my attention as a former Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) former field secretary to a very topical problem, that is the question of the new Skeldon sugar factory for India or China to manage. Let me say clearly that I am not against any new management which will bring much benefit to the workers in creating jobs, improving skills and advancing both workers and the country’s welfare, I welcome that.
The forecast for this factory is not bright as since the modernisation, production was expected to be bountiful so as to yield in the vicinity of some three hundred thousand tonnes (300,000). Further losses were recorded at the Skeldon factory, employment costs account for about 56 percent of this factory. The corporation and government must now understand the situation and act responsibly or else there can be job losses if Skeldon factory is closed down.
That would mean unemployment, and social problems like more crime will increase. Retrenched workers would have difficulties to find jobs and to survive with their families. The factory has already come a long way since the modernisation, the Corporation and government pumped billions of dollars literally, to keep it operable over the past years.
GUYSUCO’s management made colossal blunders when problems started to develop for there seems to have been no feasibility study on the establishment of this factory. Managers were aware that they have to cut down the high cost to produce a pound of sugar and production increases at a lower cost will make the factory viable.
A source said that the management also blundered in contracting the workforce under conditions prevailing in the factory. Thus workers, consultants and engineers from China have been enjoying super salaries. It is sad for what should have been a lucrative model sugar factory in the Caribbean, is now a colossal blunder.